Back in January of this year I wrote a post listing my top 5 VMware books, well with the passing 6 months there are a few more incredible books that should be added to this list so I’m expanding it a bit. I’ve come to find out that it’s way to difficult to restrict the list to just five entries, so I’ve decided to review my favorite VMware books every 6 months because it seems as a new book or books come out in that time frame. This does not change my earlier list, those books are phenomenal and I would still list them as my top 5 but there are others that should be in the mix as well.

VMware vSphere PowerCLI Reference: Automating vSphere Administration
by Luc Dekens, Alan Renouf, Glenn Sizemore, Arnim van Lieshout, Jonathan Medd

This book is a must have for any PowerCLI users out there, and anyone that wants to make their life easier by automating vSphere. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and applying what I’ve read to my own PowerCLI skill set. I’m very green when it comes to vSphere automation, so this book was a huge help in getting me spun up on it and then being able to apply in my home lab setting as well as at work. Luc and Alan are the foremost experst on PowerCLI, as many of you already know that have been to one of their sessions at VMworld. Here is a review from another virtualization giant, Duncan Epping:

Although I know vSphere inside out I am a novice when it comes to PowerCLI. The main reason being that I never gave myself the time to actually learn PowerCLI as I figured I could do things faster using the UI. Although this might be true in some cases the first thing the book tought me was that my perception was wrong. The book shows you how to optimize your day-to-day operations by taking advantage of what PowerCLI has to offer out of the box, but it also teaches you how to create your own functions. The amount of examples in there in terms of PowerCLI scripts are such a valuable asset that I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning PowerCLI and/or optimizing their operational procedures. We are not talking about reporting only, for instance configuring vSwitches or restricting the amount of snapshots is all shown in this book. Be warned though, don’t expect a step-by-step Learning PowerCLI Guide, this is 700+ pages of pure PowerCLI automation at its best which will enable you to get the most out of your environment.

Duncan
Yellow-Bricks

VMware vSphere Design
by Forbes Guthrie, Scott Lowe, Maish Saidel-Keesing

I think all of us have been waiting for a great VMware design book, and it has finally arrived. Written by three of the top authors/bloggers/experts in the field of virtualization, VMware vSphere Design is another must have in your IT library if you want to ever succeed in understanding how to design a VMware architecture and implement it. If you are coveting the VCDX certification, this book will help as well. This book details the overall design process, server hardware selection, network layout, security considerations, storage infrastructure, virtual machine design, and more. There is so much that goes into a successful design, this books helps you understand what it important and how to put it all together. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting both Scott and Maish, and they are both great guys and a wealth of information. Forbes Guthrie and his blog played a major role in me passing the VCP exam, his blog is a gold mine of reference notes, config maximums, if you haven’t been to vReference.com yet you’ve been missing out. Here is a great review of this book from Cody Bunch, an expert himself:

I received this book via Kindle loan for 14 days, of which I only needed about 12 to get through it. Mind, that is not because the content was light, far from it. It was because the book did the following things:

1) Taught me a few new things
2) Made me think about the way things are done… to question the “why’s” behind certain design decisions
3) Made me pop open Google (more than a few times) to dig in deeper about a topic.

Chapter one, where the design process is laid out calls out the importance of having an operational component in your vSphere design. This is an area that often doesn’t get much focus, so it was good to see it called out. Chapter 9, Designing for Security, is also a key component and “Risk Scenario” based approach was excellent and my only wish here, is that the chapter would have come sooner, or been integrated as a component into each chapter. There were a few spots where some of the recommendations were dated, but this is a risk you run into with any published material. I would also have liked to see more vApp coverage.

VMware ESX and ESXi in the Enterprise: Planning Deployment of Virtualization Servers (2nd Edition)
by Edward Haletky

Ok, so this is a second edition, but don’t let that fool you, it is a worthy second edition. Ed Haletky is a top notch writer and is a recognized virtualization security expert. I had the pleasure of meeting Ed at VMworld 2010, and recently interviewed him for an upcoming article in Virtualization Review about cloud security strategies. If you are new to VMware, a vExpert, a lover of virtualization, read this book, it will not disappoint. Here is another great review from Cody Bunch on Ed’s book:

Let me start with saying I’ve read the first edition of this book and Ed’s Security book and found both to be excellent.

As this book was a second edition, I focused my reading on those updated areas and there were a few. As always Ed provided a good balance between detail and real world examples/implementations that carry the weight of his experience with VMware on the whole.

I’d recommend this book for those getting into their first few ESX/ESXi implementations, and to supplement the official VMware courseware with real world examples.

Hopefully you’ve already heard of or read these books, if not, get out and pick up a copy, download one to your Kindle, iPad or whatever and get to reading. I find that my IT library has swelled significantly since diving in to virtualization a year and half ago. There are so many good books, please don’t take offense if I missed your book, shoot me a comment and let me know if I did so I can review your book.

Disclaimer: I have not received any free copies of these books, or been pressured to write a post about any of these books. The opinions expressed in this post are my original and un-biased opinions.

Greg W Stuart
Greg is the owner and editor of vDestination.com. He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He works as a Sr. Consultant at VMware and resides in Northern Virginia, 15 minutes west of Washington DC.

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